In the runup to the gathering of world leaders in Argentina for the G-20 summit, a planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping has attracted the most attention. The major question is whether the two leaders will make a deal to ease trade tensions, at least temporarily, or whether Trump will raise tariffs and escalate the ongoing trade war. But beyond the U.S.-China issue, another matter is causing international strain: Russia seized three Ukrainians vessels off the coast of Crimea on Sunday, which led Trump to cancel his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20.
Despite Russia’s aggression, Trump’s decision to skip the meeting is misguided. Talking with Putin in Buenos Aires would have been an opportunity for Trump to address the pattern of rule-breaking Russian behavior head-on and stem the momentum Putin thinks is on his side. Without a strong rebuke and actions in response to Russia’s string of provocations, it is almost certain that Putin will either continue on his current path unabated or perhaps even gradually escalate his transgressions.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.